Prior to my sister’s graduation from college in Connecticut this spring, it was decided early on that she and my mother would embark on a cross-country road trip in preparation for her first position post-graduation in northern California. They extended an invitation for me to join, but I respectfully declined, on the basis that I would “probably end up killed, or killing someone.”
For those of us not confined to the limits of a Hyundai Elantra, we received several text messages on a daily basis, allowing us to imagine what the middle of America was like, but more importantly, informing us that both passengers were still alive. Most of these messages flowed more or less like this:
“Just checked into Twinsburg, Ohio! Your sister is craving pho.”
“Heading to Nebraska now. Will be looking for a pho restaurant.”
“Leaving for Colorado now. Nebraska’s pho was surprisingly excellent.”
“On our way to Las Vegas. Pho in Colorado was terrible.”
In an effort to keep their travels to daytime hours only, this meant sticking to an early to bed, early to rise mantra. With day driving, however, also comes the dangers of sun exposure.
Skin cancer is no joke
My mom’s plan of attack? To double up on her frames, because two are clearly better than one. Plus, her “eyes hurt from all the sunscreen.”
My younger sister Jamie is an ensign in the United States Coast Guard, and it is public knowledge that my mom is her #1 fan. After graduating from the Coast Guard Academy earlier this year, my sister embarked on a months-long tour of destinations I did not even realize were a matter of national security.
The finest souvenir I have ever received from a visitor to Dutch Harbor, AK
When Jamie began sailing back to the San Francisco Bay area where she is primarily based, my mother began preparing a hero’s welcome for my sister by planning a road trip to meet Jamie when her ship pulled into harbor. After my sister’s commander casually mentioned that they would be sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, my mom’s weekend road trip somehow evolved into an elaborate plan that included stopping on the bridge to see the ship. It is important to note that my sister’s ship is 418 feet long. And that the Golden Gate Bridge is 4,200 feet long.
Your tax dollars contributed greatly to the USCGC Bertholf, this $641 million beauty of a beast
My sister: So I think the earliest we should cross the Golden Gate Bridge is 0630.
Me: Mom wants to know where near the bridge you’ll be and that she’ll be waving a white scarf but not surrendering.
My sister: Where near the bridge? We’ll be sailing under it, I will be busy so I probably won’t see her.
My dad: Golden Gate is such a huge bridge – I think mom can see the boat, but I would assume it’s hard to spot an individual person.
Reporting for duty
Based on the photographic evidence, the trip was a success as far as the whole family was concerned. It wasn’t until after my sister came home to visit my parents in southern California that we learned what truly happened that fateful morning on the bridge.
My sister: So I had four binoculars and everyone looking on the ship. But when the boat docked, all of the families came on board, and I was like “…”
Everyone else: Why? What do you mean? What happened?
My mom: I went to Philz Coffee and we missed the boat pulling in.
It is a pretty widely accepted understanding that Asians – while we can certainly design and produce quality automobiles – cannot necessarily say the same about their actual driving abilities. I don’t even bother trying to delude myself into thinking I’m any kind of vehicular gold medalist or anything of the sort.
In a recent trip home to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Kims, it became evident that my mother had not yet reached this level of acceptance like I have, and still believed her driving to be a real contender in conversational debate.
My mom: I don’t understand why all of you are so critical of my driving. My friends all feel very safe in my car, and they all appreciate my driving!
My dad: Mom. That’s because they all drive like you.
Now, just before we all breathe a sigh of relief for my father’s dose of realism, here’s a little tidbit he mentioned to me this week while visiting me in Nevada:
“I was driving on the freeway and all of these Las Vegans just wouldn’t let me in! But then I realized I had California plates, so I just cut in!”